Endline report - Ethiopia Assistive Technology Initiative in Early Reading Classrooms

During 2016/2017, RTI implemented an assistive technology initiative to improve reading instruction in inclusive grade two public school classrooms in 63 schools in five regions of Ethiopia. Project inputs included a smartphone with screening tools for vision and hearing impairment and explicitly accommodated reading lesson plans for reading and writing instruction in mother tongue. The intervention also included a total of 4 days of teacher training and two classroom monitoring visits per teacher. After three months of implementation, teacher attitudes and self-efficacy to inclusive education improved significantly, as did teacher adoption of foundational inclusive practices in the classroom. At the student level, students identified for a potential vision or hearing impairment in intervention classrooms demonstrated similar learning progress compared to their peers without such impairment, although the study found measurable differences in reading achievement between these groups already at baseline. In conclusion, the innovation of using pedagogical support tools on smartphones as assistive technology at the teacher level appeared to have been appropriate for the context of the participating schools in Ethiopia, as well as effective in improving inclusive reading instruction.

READ TA Ethiopia Assistive Technology Capacity Building Initiative - CIES 2017 presentation

This presentation is an overview of the Assistive Technology Capacity Building Initiative (ATCBI) implemented by RTI International under the USAID-funded READ TA project in Ethiopia. The presentation was given by Wykia Macon and Stephen Backman at the 2017 CIES conference on behalf of also Carmen Strigel and Habtamu Mekonnen.

Mobile Learning and Numeracy: Filling gaps and expanding opportunities for early grade learning

The present study on Mobile Learning and Numeracy examines how mobile learning (m-learning) could influence and improve numeracy education at early grade levels (ages 4-10) especially in low-income countries. Key questions to guide the research include: 1) What are the benefits and challenges of integrating mobile learning into early grade numeracy education? 2) What is the role of a teacher with regard to mobile learning and numeracy education? 3) How can the community and the parents actively contribute to/participate in the child’s numeracy education with the use of mobile devices? and 4) How can mobile technology be used effectively in measuring/assessing numeracy gains? The conclusions and recommendations of this study have been informed by an international working group that met over two days during the first International Numeracy Conference in Berlin in December 2012. We would like to acknowledge the following participants of this working group for their thoughtful contributions: Michaela Brinkhaus (BMZ); Dorothea Coppard (GIZ); Melanie Stilz (Konnektiv Büro für Bildung und Entwicklung); Jens von Roda-Pulkowski (KfW); Abigail Bucuvalas (Sesame Workshop); Mr. Kann Puthy (Primary Education Department, MoEYS Cambodia); Edward Barnett (DFID).

Does technology improve reading outcomes? Comparing the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of ICT interventions for early grade reading in Kenya

Article published in the International Journal of Educational Development, Volume 49, July 2016, Pages 204–214. Published abstract: Education policymakers are investing in information and communications technology (ICT) without a research base on how ICT improves outcomes. There is limited research on the effects of different types of ICT investments on outcomes. The Kenya Primary Math and Reading (PRIMR) study implemented a randomized controlled trial comparing the effects and cost of three interventions – e-readers for students, tablets for teachers, and the base PRIMR program with tablets for instructional supervisors. The results show that the ICT investments do not improve literacy outcomes significantly more than the base non-ICT instructional program. Our findings show that cost considerations should be paramount in selecting ICT investments in the education sector.

Assessment of Early Grade Reading in the Education Sector in Cambodia [Khmer]

The objective of this sector assessment activity is to identify strengths, weaknesses, and key leverage points to improve children’s reading outcomes within the institutional context of Cambodia’s education system.

Assessment of Early Grade Reading in the Education Sector in Cambodia [English]

The objective of this sector assessment activity is to identify strengths, weaknesses, and key leverage points to improve children’s reading outcomes within the institutional context of Cambodia’s education system.

Where Desert Meets Technology: Findings from ICT in Education Initiatives in Rural Schools in Mongolia

With the aim of providing developing member countries (DMCs) with better guidance for using information and communication technology (ICT) effectively in education, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded a 21-month Regional Technical Assistance (RETA) in Bangladesh, Nepal, Mongolia, and Samoa. the study team conducted a number of activities in Mongolia, guided by a site assessment and needs analysis. These included (i) a 1-week intensive training program for teachers and training managers, as well as representatives from the Education and Culture Department (ECD), in August 2006; (ii) moderate procurement of equipment and software for SEDP schools; (iii) 2-day follow-on training interventions at each IIREM and SEDP school in the study, in October 2006; and (iv) a 4-day training for trainers with 3-day follow-on regional trainings, in April 2007. Applying a three-group research design, 12 schools were sampled for participation in the study: four schools that had participated in the IIREM project, four schools that received computer equipment under SEDP, and four schools that were sampled as control schools.

Case Study: Tangerine:Class for data-informed instructional decision making in Kenya

This case study will highlight practical lesson learned from the use of mobile devices with Tangerine®:Class open-source software for data-informed instructional decision-making from a year-long, rigorous study conducted by RTI International in Kenya. Throughout 2013, twenty-one teachers and 600 pupils used Tangerine:Class on Android tablets in a randomized controlled trial. While the trial was focused on early reading instruction, the applicable lessons learned are also for mathematics and independent of subject matter. Practical findings concern training and support, the logistics of individual pupil assessments in large classrooms; the nature of instructional decision-making; and the use of data and interactions between teachers, headteachers and parents. This is a chapter of an edited book "Mobile Learning and Mathematics" (Crompton, H. and Traxler, J., eds.) available at Amazon.com.

Tech’n Teachers: Assembling the jigsaw puzzle - but do we even know the picture?

This presentation was given at the 2015 Game Change Summit of the United Methodist Church in Nashville, TN. The presentation takes the audience along a journey of 2 different technology initiatives that involve teachers in Samoa and Kenya and share with you some of the pieces we have found, and where we think some are still missing. While there are many more, the presentation focused on each initiative’s main puzzle pieces – the key design elements of education objective, content, technology, training, cost and scale, as well as monitoring and evaluation.